College Football Picks Week 13: Predicting Winners of Must-See Rivalry Matchups

Patrick Clarke@@_Pat_ClarkeCorrespondent INovember 22, 2012

SOUTH BEND, IN - NOVEMBER 17: John Goodman #81 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (L), Troy Niklas #85 (L) and T.J. Jones #7 celebrate after Goodmans' touchdown catch against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Notre Dame Stadium on November 17, 2012 in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated Wake Forest 38-0.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are a lock to win arguably the most important rivalry game in its history this weekend when it takes on the Matt Barkley-less USC Trojans on Saturday night.

Sitting at No. 1 in the BCS standings, Brian Kelly's 11-0 squad is just one victory away from securing a trip to Miami for this January's BCS National Championship Game. How's that for pressure? But the Irish and the Trojans aren't the only two teams butting helmets for bragging rights in Week 13.

Here are my picks for the weekend's must-see rivalry matchups.


No. 4 Florida Over No. 10 Florida State

A 10-1 SEC team will always be more impressive than a 10-1 ACC team. The two conferences are on two very different levels, and that's why Florida's resume has them ranked No. 4 in the BCS rather than No. 10, where Florida State sits entering Week 13.

Of course, the Seminoles have won the last two meetings between these two schools, but I like the Gators third-ranked scoring defense to bring plenty of bite to Tallahassee. 

Florida hasn't given up more than 20 points in any game this season, and is allowing fewer than 12 points per game on average this fall. Only Alabama and Notre Dame have been more dominant in that area.

Also, many forget that Jimbo Fisher's squad has played only one ranked team this season, beating then-No. 10 Clemson at home back in September. But don't worry, Will Muschamp's Gators won't give up 49 points like the Tigers did two months ago.


No. 5 Oregon Over No. 15 Oregon State

You can bet Chip Kelly and the Oregon Ducks will take their frustration out on rival Oregon State this weekend in the Civil War. Oregon has to be bitter just one week after scoring only two touchdowns in a crushing defeat at home to Stanford.

Despite their loss, the Ducks still rank second in the nation in scoring offense (51.1 points per game) and fifth in rushing yards per game (313.5). I doubt that Mike Riley's team can keep up with Oregon on the scoreboard. 

The biggest advantage the Beavers will have is the noise and support of the home crowd. Oregon State has yet to lose at home this season, but the Beavers have also yet to face an offense as explosive as this.

I give the edge to Oregon's playmakers in this matchup.


No. 11 Clemson Over No. 12 South Carolina

The Gamecocks have won three in a row against in-state rival Clemson, but the Tigers are surging right now, having won seven straight this fall. Clemson also ranks fourth in scoring offense (44.6 points per game) and ninth in passing offense this season (332 yards per game), making it a formidable opponent to face on the road.

Although it isn't LSU's Death Valley, Clemson's home turf provides it with a notable advantage. In fact, the last time the Tigers knocked off the Gamecocks was at Memorial Stadium in 2008.

Sure, Connor Shaw and South Carolina's offense is capable of putting up points, but they only average slightly more than 31 per game and have hardly any prowess on the ground since star running back Marcus Lattimore went down with a knee injury a few weeks back.

Lattimore's absence is a huge blow for the Gamecocks in a showdown of this magnitude on the road. The edge has to go to Clemson, which will be hungry to end its losing skid to Steve Spurrier's side.


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